David Lee

I was working as Projectionist in one of Auckland New Zealand’s top movie houses showing ‘Death On The Nile’.

One Saturday night I wanted the night shift off for some reason or other, so arranged for an ex Company projectionist to cover my shift.

At the time we were running Victoria 8 projectors with 6,000 ft spools so only 1 changeover per session was required. The first session went ok, but on the 2nd and thankfully last session of the day the relief projectionist missed the changeover and quickly started the incoming machine – going from start to run in one action. This caused the film to loop outwards and somehown split the film, one half going through the lower firetrap while the second half went over the top in effect splitting the film in two. Believe it or not, the projectionist didn’t notice this, and the film continued splitting through the spool joins (cement and not tape joins) until finally the take-up stopped and the film started looping out the front of the projector. The horrified projectionist opened the take-up and found 2 16mm films.

Sunday we were closed so on Monday it was arranged to swap prints with another local cinema. This went on for 4 or 5 days while another 3 spools were sent from England. I was on shift when the replacement reels arrived, just in time for our 5.00pm session. I didn’t have time to examine them properly so ran the original spools 1,2 & 3 then changed over to spool 4, then 5, o.k, then to spool 6. The picture was fine, but by accident we had been sent a spool in a foreign language with English subtitles. Would you believe not one of the audience complained about the ‘strange’ presentation.

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